Interzone Number 164, February 2001.

The Nephilim. Richard Calder.

Calder takes us once more into the far future Britain of his ‘Lord Soho’ series, as seen through the Pike family, erstwhile claimants to that hereditary title.

As with previous stories in this sequence which have appeared over the past 18 months in Interzone, we skip one or two generations. In the woods of Epping, part of the Darkling Isle which is now England, we witness a struggle between Richard and Reginald Pike, elderly members of the family, over their fatherless grandson, and over the different futures: is it to be the Positivist, Materialist, Utilitarian nihilism of the debauched Reggie, or the more aesthetic vision of Richard?

Presumably Calder’s dense, wordy style is one which you either love or hate. The absence of his stories on the current BSFA short story ballots suggests that his appeal may not be that widespread.

Lost Continent. Stephen Baxter.

Baxter takes a break from lengthy novel sequences to provide a short story, a dialogue in which one character proposes alien intervention for the emergence of civilisation and development across the globe during the 15th-17th centuries.

Surfers. Ruaridh Pringle.

A first published short story which doesn’t read as such. Humanity is facing, although it doesn’t know it, a wave-front from a cosmic event which will wash over and destroy Earth. A form of rescue is offered, which involved rock and roll and some very bizarre, mind-bending events. An acid trip to safety.

The Eaters. Alexander Glass.

A short fantastical tale, offering food for thought.

Ravens. Stephen Dedman.

Australian writer offers a near-future vision, in which statistical profiling and observation enables a suicide-watch branch of the police to intervene in time, hopefully.

Other Stuff.

  • Stephen Baxter interviewed by Nick Gevers
  • David Langford’s Ansible Link
  • Nick Low reviews Red Planet and The Grinch
  • Gary Westfahl looks at the messages to aliens (Pioneer 10 etc.) which talk to us as much as to the aliens for whom they are intended
  • Paul McAuley reviews Robert Holdstock’s ‘Celtika: Book One of the Merlin Codex’, Pat Murphy’s ‘Wild Angel, by Mary Merriwell, by Max Merriwell’, James Lovegrove’s ‘The Foreigners’, Joe R. Lansdale’s collection ‘High Cotton’, and Richard Paul Russo’s collection ‘Terminal Visions’.
  • Chris Gilmore reviews Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘A Kiss of Shadows’, Elizabeth Haydon’s ‘Rhapsody: Child of Blood’, Mark. F. Parker’s ‘The Sword in the Stone: X-Calibre’, and Jo Walton’s ‘The King’s Peace’.
  • Nick Gever’s reviews George R. R. Martin’s ‘Storm of Swords’

Conclusion

A large proportion of the fiction content is given over to Calder’s latest Lord Soho tale, with the other stories all of short length. The one long, and densely written story tends throw the other stories into contrasts, perhaps making them appear lighter than may be the case. If you like Calder, then a good issue. If you don’t like Calder, then you would probably rate the fiction content on the weak side.

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